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Scientists map brain reaction to food

6/29/2000-Scientists at the University of Florida and the University of Texas have pinpointed the time it takes for the human brain to signal that the body is full, and which areas of the brain are involved in eating. By mapping changes in blood flow and oxygenation using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, termed fMRI, the researchers were able to record activity changes in the neurons to determine where in the brain, and more important, when the physiological reactions to food occur, the scientists reported in the June 29 issue of Nature. As it turns out, 10 minutes is generally all that separates feeling satisfied from feeling stuffed. That knowledge could be key in the diagnosis and treatment of obesity and associated conditions. Anthony Comuzzie, an expert studying the genetics of obesity at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, a non-profit scientific institution in San Antonio, said the study's findings are an exciting advance. The work provides a unique set of new observable characteristics for the study of obesity, he said, "which should help us get closer to the fundamental regulation of food intake."


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